Firebirds owner will not appeal OHL commissioner's decision - WNEM TV 5

Firebirds owner will not appeal OHL commissioner's decision

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Source: Flint Firebirds Source: Flint Firebirds

The Ontario Hockey League Commissioner David Branch has suspended Rolf Nilsen from being involved with the hockey operations of the Flint Firebirds for five years.

Nilsen announced on April 15 he will not appeal Branch's decision.

"I will devote all of my energy to complying with the order, focusing solely on business operations and placing myself in the best position to apply for reinstatement to hockey operations at the appropriate time," Nilsen said.

This comes on the heels of an investigation by the league into Nilsen’s violation of an agreement with the OHL.

Birch said Nilsen's controversial calls, including the firing and rehiring of his coaching staff, were weighed on the well-being of the players.

In addition to Nilsen’s suspension, he was also fined $250,000 by the OHL.

"My intention with regards to the Firebirds has always been to have a team that makes Flint and Genesee County proud and helps foster economic development in the region," Nilsen said.

The Firebirds are also being punished, and will forfeit a first round draft pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection.

As a result of the suspension, the OHL is taking stewardship of the Flint Firebirds.

“The OHL is pleased to announce that Joe Birch, who has led the Flint Firebirds hockey operations since February, 2016, will continue in his role as director of hockey operations, with a general manager, head coach, and additional hockey operations staff to be appointed in the near future,” Branch said.

But will the Firebirds stay in Flint?

That decision must be approved by the OHL's board of governors, so for now, the Firebirds will remain in Flint.

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